As one of the most influential and important photographic artists of the 21st century, Roger Ballen's photographs span over forty years. His strange and extreme works confront the viewer and challenge them to come with him on a journey into their own minds, as he explores the deeper recesses of his own.Read More
Roger Ballen was born in New York in 1950 but for over 30 years he has lived and worked in South Africa. His work as a geologist took him out into the countryside and led him to take up his camera and explore the hidden world of small South African towns. At first he explored the empty streets in the glare of the midday sun but, once he had made the step of knocking on people's doors, he discovered a world inside these houses which was to have a profound effect on his work. These interiors with their distinctive collections of objects and the occupants within these closed worlds took his unique vision on a path from social critique to the creation of metaphors for the inner mind.
In his artistic practice Ballen has increasingly been won over by the possibilities of integrating photography and drawing. He has expanded his repertoire and extended his visual language. By integrating drawing into his photographic and video works, the artist has not only made a lasting contribution to the field of art, but equally has made a powerful commentary about the human condition and its creative potential.
His contribution has not been limited to stills photography. Ballen has been the creator of a number of acclaimed and exhibited short films that dovetail with his photographic series. The collaborative film I Fink You Freeky, created for the cult band Die Antwoord in 2012, has garnered over 85 million hits on YouTube.
Ballen's work is included in more than forty prestigious museum collections, amongst which Tate Britain, London; Victoria and Albert Museum, London; Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Musee de l'Elysee, Lausanne; and Maison Européenne de la Photographie, Paris, to name a few. Reflex Amsterdam is the exclusive dealer of Ballen's Polaroids worldwide.
Text courtesy Reflex Amsterdam.
For nearly 40 years Roger Ballen has been an outsider, operating on the margins with his fellow art brut artists. Now a new book and exhibition offer a glimpse inside the workings and processes of his dark mind, a world, he says, that, 'reveals itself through itself'
You were born in New York and later moved to and lived in South Africa for many years, you have shot a great deal of images of white people who live in South Africa, what is your original creative thought? How does this migration, geo-cultural difference influence your creation? Roger Ballen: I really took a lot of pictures of African white...